Jenn is a Personal Trainer and Fitness Instructor, she designed and teaches a Prenatal Fitness class. Jenn’s class provides moms-to-be with an outlet for physical activity, mental clarity, emotional support and social interaction. Jenn and her husband Dr. Avery Cohen, D.C. had Nolan on June 9, 2009. Visit her blog http://www.the-natural-mama.blogspot.com/ for more great information.
As a Certified Personal Trainer, mother to a 19-month-old, and the wife of a Chiropractic Physician, I know first-hand the amazing benefits a mother-to-be can receive from regular chiropractic care and proper exercises during and after pregnancy. I had a comfortable, easy, amazing pregnancy. I felt great the whole time because my body was balanced and my nervous system was functioning at 100%.
I stayed active throughout my whole pregnancy, biking up until three weeks prior to the birth. I received weekly chiropractic care and massages, continued Yoga and Pilates (with modifications) up until just days before birth, and I used the basic principles of Yoga through labor.
As I specialize in prenatal and postnatal fitness, I’ve seen tremendous results with my clients when incorporating chiropractic, Yoga, Pilates-based principles, strength-training and cardiovascular exercise designed especially for pregnant women.
Pregnancy is different for each woman, and a chiropractor and personal trainer can work together to balance the pelvis and the spine for a pregnant woman. A balanced pelvis comes from a strong core, which will help support the growing uterus. If the body is not balanced, the pelvic ligaments could over-contract, causing the baby to shift into an undesirable presentation and can cause the mother pain or discomfort. Even if there is no pain, the imbalanced ligaments can cause an altered center of gravity and affect proprioception, possibly leading to many complaints.
As the mother’s body changes during pregnancy, the spine takes on the toll of these postural changes. As her belly grows larger, she might have a tendency to over extend the lumbar curve in the low back. This could cause tight low back muscles and tight hip flexors. To maintain a center of gravity, the thoracic spine might flex more with rounded shoulders and a forward head posture, resulting in tight neck extensors. Upper-cross/lower-cross syndrome is very common among pregnant women.
Proper breathing is a huge component of both Pilates and Yoga. As the baby and uterus grows larger, it will start to push up on the diaphragm. This results in shortness of breath/difficulty of breathing. Many mothers then resort to shallow, chest breathing instead of deep belly breathing. Shallowly breathing into the upper portion of the lungs prevents full oxygen exchange. It also overuses the accessory breathing muscles creating tension in the neck and shoulders. The more focused the breath is, the more relaxed the mother will be, the more oxygen will be supplied to her body as well as the baby and placenta.
Deep breathing and relaxation that comes with Yoga can help relieve STRESS! Stress is a main contributor to: high blood pressure, gestational diabetes, fatigue and/or insomnia, headaches and irritability. If the mother can relieve stress, she can avoid many other health issues to herself and the unborn baby.
Here is how exercising during trimesters changes:
- First trimester can come with fatigue and nausea. Heavy exercise might not be desirable. If you can get outside for a short walk, it can boost you energy and the fresh air will diminish nausea.
- Second and most of third trimester can come with a burst of energy. Increased blood volume in your body will boost your VO2 (the volume of oxygen in your blood). Some cardiovascular exercises you normally would find difficult might seem easier now. Make sure your heart rate does not exceed 70% max heart rate.
- The third trimester will come with an overall feeling of excitement, anxiousness, fatigue at some times and bursts of energy in preparation of the baby. Exercise can help you burn off some nervous energy, clear your mind and boost your mood.
watch this video about Jenn and her prenatal fitness class: